Nicole: Now that's just politically incorrect.
Cut to a much grimmer scene: Mrs. Griswold's surgery. It's going well, until McDreamy walks in the observation room and ruins everything. Meredith gives him a sad look. Cristina stares at the monitor and says, "Look at that. A fully-exposed partially numb beating heart. It's a beautiful thing." Wait, is this supposed to be symbolic of something? And if we hadn't been beat over the head enough, Mrs. Griswold's heart CATCHES ON FIRE. She codes, of course, and Burke commands O'Malley to shut down all the equipment. Everyone not in the operating room stares in disbelief as Burke tries to save the mean lady. Commercials.
When we get back, Fool and the Girls are sitting in a stairwell discussing the surgery. Meredith can't believe the lady's heart was on fire. Cristina tells her to stop saying that over and over again. "But she was. She was on fire." George passes by, and they ask him if he's okay. George: "She was on fire." Hee. Burke passes by too, and Cristina asks him if he's okay. Burke says he's fine; he tells O'Malley they need to go. Before Cristina can be aggravated, her pager goes off again. She finds Bailey, who says, "Oh, hey. I hear a heart caught on fire in the OR?" Cristina tells Bailey she knows she deserves it, but Bailey is wasting her on puke and boils. "I get it, please don't keep me away from this surgery. I earned this surgery. I stole this surgery!" Bailey's all, "What the hell are you talking about, Yang?" Cristina realizes that Bailey has no idea about her and Burke. She asks Bailey who, then, has been paging her all day? Nurse Vengeful pipes up from behind the desk: "A little respect, and you could have saved yourself a very long day, Dr. Yang." Cristina can't believe it. Bailey: "Pissing off the nurses. STUPID." Cristina calls after her, "But I can still scrub in, right?"
Addison is confiding in Webber that McDreamy wants her to move to Seattle. Webber tells her that, with her reputation, she could be the most bestest, super-fabulous, famousest neonatologist west of Manhattan. Also, he offers her a whole lot of money to take the job. Which, judging by the look on her face, she is going to. Meanwhile...
...her husband walks towards Meredith with purpose. He has nearly made it when Bailey steps in front of him and barks, "Turn around. Walk away." McDreamy says he wasn't. Bailey says yes, yes, he was. "Look, you can't do this, you don't have the right, not anymore." McDreamy just wants to see if she's okay. Bailey smacks him down: "She's not. She's a human traffic accident, and everybody's slowing down to look at the wreckage. She's doing the best she can with what she has left, and I know you can't see this 'cause you're in it, but YOU CAN'T HELP HER NOW! You'll only make it worse. Walk away. Leave her to mend." McDreamy is near tears, but still doesn't quite get it. Bailey has to tell him again to GO ON, and he finally does.
Alex wheels Nicole around the hospital while they talk. He asks her why she wouldn't want this operation that could help her. Nicole confesses that she doesn't know if she's ready for this much independence; she's never had a boyfriend, or even been kissed. "I'm like the oldest living prospective college freshman not to go to first base." Aw. Alex tells her there are way older losers than her. Nicole stops Alex, turns to him, and asks in the most heartbreaking way ever if he will kiss her. "I know it's against the rules, but I would never tell anyone." Alex looks around and leans down to Nicole, who already has her eyes closed and her lips pursed in anticipation. And instead of kissing her, he tells her that for a kiss to mean something, you want it to be with someone you can't get out of your head, so when you finally touch you feel it everywhere. "You can't cheat your first kiss, Nicole. Trust me, you don't want to. When you find that right person...that first kiss? It's everything." Nicole opens her eyes and smiles. Tears!
Burke and George are trying to explain to Al what happened in his wife's surgery. Burke says there will be an investigation, but it's not as unusual as it sounds, and his wife is going to be fine. As Burke goes on to say that Mrs. Griswold is expected to make a full recovery, Al is rubbing his eyes and shaking his head. Burke and George try to console him, thinking he's stunned with grief, but Al suddenly starts laughing. A lot. Crazily. He tries to speak in between guffaws. "So...her heart caught on fire. In the middle of her fifth open-heart operation. And she survived?" More hysterical laughter. "She's like some, some mythical monster. She's NEVER gonna die!" Burke says he knows it's an emotional time, and if Al would like to wait... But Al doesn't want to wait. He is not waiting any longer. He shoves her bag into George's hands and says, "You tell her. Tell her...hell, tell her she'll survive without me!" And out of the hospital he goes, still laughing his ass off.
Meredith finds a huge crowd of people in Mr. Herman's room -- nurses, doctors, reporters, photographers, you name it, they're there -- and can't take it anymore. She screams at everybody to get out, because Mr. Herman is a surgical patient who is tired and embarrassed by being stared at. She turns to Izzie and Cristina, who have been taking bets: "You two? This isn't a zoo! OUT!" She tells the rest of them that if they want to point and stare at her, to knock themselves out. "'Oh, look at Meredith, isn't she sad and pathetic and heartbroken. Maybe she's gone mental.' Maybe I have! But leave Mr. Herman alone!" Everyone leaves ashamedly as Meredith ushers them out the door. She spots McDreamy across the hall and addresses him viciously: "And what are YOU looking at." Bravo! It's about damn time. Commercials.
Burke and George are still sitting in the reception area, gobsmacked by Al's heroic exit. George is like, "So do you tell his wife, or should I?" Burke can't control himself, and breaks down laughing. George laughs too, more because there's nothing else he can do than because it's funny. When the giggles die down, Burke tells George that he wants to thank him for how well he performed in the surgery today. George thanks Burke for the compliment, but as we all know, George just cannot keep himself from ruining everything. He adds, "And hey, I'm sorry about before...you know, bringing up you and Cristina." Here he puts his hand on Burke's shoulder, and Burke pulls away like George's hand were molten steel. He gets up and starts walking away. George is mortified with himself, but then calls over his shoulder, "You're still my guy, O'Malley." Oh, I think it's love!
It's almost time for Mr. Herman's surgery. He tells his wife that he always thought he would hold her hand in the delivery room. She kisses him goodbye. Sweep the leg, Johnny! On the way to surgery, Mr. Herman asks Meredith not to let "them" show his teratoma off, or pass it around in a jar or something. Meredith promises she won't. Mr. Herman goes into surgery, and MereVO starts up: "At the end of the day, there are some things you just can't help but talk about." A huge crowd of people watches as Bailey pulls the enormous cyst from Mr. Herman's abdomen. She hands it over to Meredith and asks, "You really want to be the one to dispose of this, Grey?" Mere says she made a promise.
Cut to Cristina, who finds Burke and tells him how worried she is about her career and reputation. "I will not be Meredith Grey. I busted my ass to get here, and people will not make allowances for me." Damn! Burke says it's not about making allowances; everyone will know. Cristina says she just doesn't want to tell the chief, okay? Burke looks at her with tears in his eyes, and MereVO tells us, "Some things we just don't want to hear, and some things we say because we can't be silent any